Monday, December 05, 2005

Newsletter: Christmas in Narnia

In the book, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis tells the wonderful story of four children from our world entering the magical world of Narnia. The problem is that Narnia is being held hostage by a horrible witch. By her magic, she has made it winter in Narnia. As one of the characters says, "always winter but never Christmas." Under the snow, Narnia remains frightened and lifeless. One of the first signs that the witch’s power is breaking is a visit by Father Christmas. C.S. Lewis’ friend, J.R.R. Tolkien, the author the Lord of the Rings, advised Lewis not to include the scene with Father Christmas. He felt that it would create confusion. Nonetheless, Lewis rejected the advice of his friend. Christmas would come to Narnia.

We don’t live in Narnia, but we are experienced with winter. Snow may not be very common, but we understand chilling temperatures and a wind that cuts like a knife. The plants and trees become dormant, and a dreary brown dominates the landscape. We also recognize that winter is not dependent on the calendar. We have all experienced chilling seasons in our own lives. Those are the times when we are blown about by events and a dreary melancholy dominates our moral, spiritual, and emotional landscape. Who wouldn’t welcome a visit from Father Christmas during these times?

That’s what the Christmas season is about. The people of Israel understood winter. They understood slavery and domination as they waited pensively for the Messiah. Christmas comes and demonstrates that winter is only for a season. The tyranny of winter is temporary. The birth, life, death, resurrection, and eventual return of Jesus assures us that our winters will break into spring. The White Witch of Narnia knows that if Christmas never comes, her rule will be permanent. But Christmas cannot be stopped.

Our God is on the move. Merry Christmas.

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